The MSDN event in Dayton yesterday was one of the best MSDN events I've attended in a long time. Each session was interesting. The first session was on CardSpace, which is Microsoft's answer to identity management on the Internet. I've seen a little on CardSpace, but this is the first full presentation I've seen on it. Right now it seems like it's not ready for prime time, one example is Firefox support. Apparently there's a plugin to allow it to work with Firefox, but you can't use the one suggested by Firefox, you have to download one from CodePlex. I'm looking forward to the day when this will be more widely implemented so I can get rid of a few user names and passwords.
The second session was on the Microsoft AJAX Library. This was an unusual Microsoft presentation in that it emphasized the platform agnosticism of the client side AJAX libraries. One of the demos showed the use of the AJAX library in a PHP site. There was also information on a topic I have not thought about yet, which is localization and globalization of AJAX code and resources; seems like the people at Microsoft have thought about it and have a solution similar to ASP.NET. A definite advantage for a .NET developer in using the Microsoft AJAX library is that it is designed to be comfortable to an ASP.NET developer.
The final session covered AJAX best practices, including some good information on how to best utilize update panels (I know that some people's answer to the question would be never, but it does seem to me like there are good times to use them).
Since I have already worked on on site using the Microsoft AJAX technology, I didn't expect to get as much out of these sessions as I did. Admittedly, much of it was review, but I did get a couple ideas of how to do things better and some of the capabilities of Microsoft AJAX.
As you know if you read my blog, I am a strong proponent of attending events like this. It's one of the ways to keep up with everything new going on. And even if the topic is not the most compelling, or one that is directly related to your current task, it is an opportunity to spend some time thinking about something different than what you do every day, which has a tremendous amount of value in itself.
The slides and sample application from the presentation are available here.